Superman & Lois makes Superman’s life more complicated when his relationship with the authorities takes a turn that could affect the rest of Season 2.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Superman & Lois Season 2, Episode 6, “Tried and True,” which aired Tuesday, March 1 on The CW.
Superman has had a contentious relationship with the US military ever since his father-in-law General Sam Lane stepped away from heading the Department of Defense for a well-deserved retirement. Lane’s replacement was Lieutenant General Anderson, a soldier who immediately butted heads with the Man of Steel over Superman’s insistence on being a superhero for the entire world regardless of political agenda, rather than prioritize his interests in the favor of the United States. This matter finally came to a head with Anderson ditting any illusion about his obsessive lengths to control Superman — by officially declaring the hero an enemy of the state.
Anderson’s friction with Superman and inability to deliver the military its own Superman equivalent has not gone unnoticed by his superiors. With Anderson’s own private Superman squad completely routed by Bizarro — resulting in two deaths — and Superman and Anderson not working together, Anderson gets dressed down by his superiors for his growing line of failures. Anderson’s frustrations and mounting jealousy of Superman are visible at the burial of the two fallen soldiers; he’s blamed for their deaths while Superman is still regarded as an unequivocal hero. The last straw for Anderson is when he learns that Superman has Bizarro in his custody and refuses to relinquish him shortly before the Man of Steel protects a Russian town from an avalanche.
Luring Superman into a meeting back at his headquarters, Anderson springs a trap by activating lights that produce red solar radiation, quickly robbing Superman of his trademark powers. Though the Man of Steel is able to singlehandedly defeat Anderson’s personal squad, the wayward general shoots Superman with Kryptonite bullets, subduing the superhero. Placing him under restraints, Anderson has Superman declared a traitor to the United States and remands him to the same cell where Superman’s genetic half-brother Tal-Rho (who might have a shot at redemption) is being confined for the foreseeable future.
Anderson attacking Superman marks a massive shift for both himself and Superman’s stance with the military moving forward. While the general and superhero never saw eye to eye, this episode is the first time that Anderson has applied outright force to bring down Superman. More importantly, prior to staging his ambush, Anderson contacted an unseen superior informing them of his plans. Since his military superiors still regarded Superman as an asset and ally while dressing down Anderson for his conduct, this call may have been to a more sinister boss like cult leader Ally Allston, who may be another DC villain.
Allston has not made any visibly direct moves towards neutralizing or controlling Superman, but she has shown a surprising amount of reach through her organization Inverse. Among Ally’s associates was Doctor Faulkner, a connected to Bizarro scientist who was overseeing the excavation of X-Kryptonite in the Shuster Mines outside of Smallville. That operation had some military US involvement, suggesting that the military could be behind Season 2’s villain — or at least one member of the military.
If Anderson is among the zealous converts of Inverse, that not only means Ally has recruits that give her an enormous amount of military access but also places Superman at her mercy. If she decides to prey on the titular superhero while he’s weak, she stands a good chance of turning him to the dark side, and it all starts with Anderson having him declared an enemy of his own country.
Developed for television by Greg Berlanti and Todd Helbing, Superman & Lois airs Tuesdays at 8:00 pm ET/PT on The CW.
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